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Health Unit Declares Outbreak at Western University Student Residence

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The Middlesex-London Health Unit has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Western University’s Essex Hall residence. The Health Unit advised Western administration this afternoon that several students living on two floors of the building have tested positive for COVID-19 since Saturday. Public health officials also indicated that there is no evidence to suggest any of the individuals who tested positive had attended a social gathering of any kind.

The students who have tested positive have been contacted by the Health Unit and are currently in isolation with the support of Western administration. The Health Unit is also working with the University to support any other students who may need to seek testing or quarantine as a result of contact with these cases. Out of an abundance of caution the Health Unit has directed Western to also isolate the students living on the building’s two affected floors.

“While London and Middlesex County have recently been moved to the Orange level of Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework, it isn’t time for any of us to let our guards down,” says Dr. Chris Mackie, Medical Officer of Health with the Middlesex-London Health Unit. “We know COVID-19 is still circulating and that we expect to see more of the Variants of Concern which can spread much more easily as we move closer to an expected third wave of the pandemic.”

In addition to getting tested at one of London’s COVID-19 Assessment Centres, Western University also offers testing on campus at the Western Student Recreation Centre for students, faculty and staff. For current hours and additional information, visit the Western COVID-19 Testing Centre.

The Health Unit recommends the following to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 infections:

  • Limit interactions to only those who are part of your household. If you live alone, consider having close contact with only one other household.
  • Avoid all non-essential travel.
  • Maintain two metres physical distance from anyone who is not part of your household, room or suite.
  • Wear a mask whenever possible when outside your home; including visits to the store and interactions with colleagues at work or in breakrooms.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 15-20 seconds or use a waterless hand sanitizer with an alcohol content of at least 60 percent.
  • Cover coughs and/or sneezes with your sleeve or cough into your elbow.
  • Clean high-touch surface, such as doorknobs, railings and countertops frequently.
  • Download the COVID Alert mobile app to be notified if you may have been exposed to COVID-19, and to let others know if you test positive for the virus.
  • Visit https://covidtestinglm.ca for how to get tested at a London Assessment Centre.

For more information about COVID-19, please visit the Middlesex-London Health Unit’s website at www.healthunit.com/novel-coronavirus.

Media Contact:
Dan Flaherty, Communications Manager, Middlesex-London Health Unit
519 663-5317, extension 2469 or 519-617-0570 (cell)

Spokesperson:
Dr. Chris Mackie, Medical Officer of Health, Middlesex-London Health Unit

Tags: COVID-19, Outbreak